• Robin Lyons

Russian Hackers


How does the U.S. stop computer hackers from other countries, especially the countries who don’t have an extradition treaty agreement with the USA? They do so by prosecuting one criminal at a time.


Case #1 – Once the U.S. FBI and U.S. Secret Service identified who had hacked into LinkedIn, Dropbox and another social network service that is no longer in business, they had to figure how to arrest the Russian hacker.


While living in Moscow, he hacked into a San Francisco, CA LinkedIn employee’s computer and installed malware which allowed him to control the computer remotely. Using the employee’s credentials, he accessed a corporate VPN (virtual private network) from there he stole employee and customer usernames and their encrypted passwords. He then sold the data to others.


While in the Czech Republic, U.S. authorities arrested the hacker and extradited him to the USA to stand trial. A jury found him guilty of:

· Selling stolen user names and passwords

· Installing malware on protected computers

· Conspiracy

· Computer intrusion

· Aggravated Identity theft

The court sentenced him to over seven years in prison. The judge said about the sentencing…

“He hoped the sentence would send a message to deter anyone, including persons living overseas, from engaging in similar conduct.”


Case #2 – The U.S. FBI and U.S. Secret Service identified a network of criminals who hacked into financial institutions; J.P. Morgan - Chase Bank, E-Trade, Scottrade, and others. Once in the systems, they stole personal information from over 100 million customers.


The ring of conspirators monitored how firms’ perform audits of potentially illegal credit card transactions to assist them in avoiding detection.


One conspirator, living in Russia accumulated—through the hacking activity—over $19 million for himself. The U.S. authorities arrested the Russian in the country of Georgia and extradited him to the USA. He pleaded guilty to:

· Conspiracy to commit computer hacking

· Wire fraud

· Violation of Internet Gambling Enforcement Act

· Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud

A federal judge sentenced him to 12-years plus three years of supervised release and pay a forfeiture of over $19 million.


Worth Mentioning: The USA with cooperation from the Israeli government extradited another co-conspirator and the ring-leader from Israel to stand trial in the United States for crimes relating to computer hacking, securities fraud, wire fraud, identification document fraud conspiracy, identity theft, money laundering, and internet gambling conspiracy. U.S. law enforcement apprehended a fourth conspirator at a U.S. airport. They are awaiting trial.


Source: U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. District Court, U.S. FBI, BBC News,

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